Planning Your Wedding From Afar: Personal Insight & Tips

Hi guys!! I feel like I have been gone forever and it’s so good to be back here. I’ve had a whirlwind few past weeks - from working Mel‘s wedding in Cabo and the Fizz & Frills launch party, to another wedding I did this past weekend, to having Steph & Robin staying with us for most of last week, I am pretty much exhausted at the moment! But… now I’m working on a few more exciting weddings in Maine and Carmel coming up in September and October, so the fun hasn’t ended yet!

I hope you’re all doing well and had a great weekend! This week is going to be a good one over here at LLD - we’ve got some tips from Jennie Fresa along with some more personal posts. But today, I want to kick off the week giving a little bit of perspective in to what it was like planning the big day from across the country. Some of you know this but others might not - we planned our Connecticut wedding while living in California. Not gonna lie - I was upset at first, when we were engaged living in California, but our friends and family were all located back east. I felt like I was missing out on what the whole experience was supposed to be like. I had to rely on texting dress pictures to my mom instead of having her right there with me, and there was no big celebration when the engagement first took place. Please don’t judge me for these little pieces that got me slightly upset; I know things could be worse in life, but this was my initial thinking. When I sent my first text picture to my mom of my dress, her reaction wasn’t what I always hoped it would be, but that’s because I wasn’t even sure what it was supposed to be (and she wasn’t sure how to react, either, so we were both left feeling upset for no reason {love you mom!})

{dress pic text}

I had all these hopes and dreams in my head that life would significantly change once I got that pretty ring. But the truth is, life moves on just as it had been, with the addition of a fun party to plan and anticipation of an exciting future together. Looking back, cross country planning wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but here are some things I learned along the way that made it just a bit easier.

1- Don’t let your expectations get you down. Seriously - throw those little daydreams away about what you think the planning is going to be like. What it will be like to try on dresses with your girls and your mom, what you could potentially be missing out on, yada yada yada. You get the picture, right? Once those expectations of what you thought the planning would be like are out the window, you have less to feel upset about, and instead you can focus on the fun times of planning, and those jam-packed weekends when you do get to go home, filled to the brim with wedding mania. This can apply to all aspects of the wedding, actually, because reality doesn’t always live up to your expectations, and this is ok.

2- Be prepared for your visits. Come with lists of what you want to get accomplished when you’re back - that way you can get as much out of those visits as possible, including all that special time you want to be spending with your family, that you feel like you’re missing out on from across the country. Those trips will become something you look forward to, and a fond memory to look back on.

3- Look in to bridesmaid dresses that can be purchased from several different locations. We purchased ours from Lula Kate, through Bella Bridesmaid, which has tons of locations all over the country. This way, if the ladies were in different states, they could all still try on dresses. We were able to do this all together during one of my trips back east, and {unexpectedly} again when I was home for my grandmother’s funeral. It may sound horrible, but it was such a nice time for my cousins and I to spend together as family, and we knew Mimi was with us. We were able to laugh and be silly and truly enjoy each other’s company even more so, realizing some things were more important than others. You can also think about j.crew or modcloth, or a dress company that allows for online ordering, to make things even more convenient, but if you’re able to all go try on dresses together during one of your trips, I highly recommend it!

4- Learn to let go. Your bridal party is going to ask “what can we do” and you’re not going to want to relinquish things. Learn to let go of some of the lovely little details - it will be hard but trust me, in the end, having your bridesmaids pick up local components for your out-of-town bags will be so worth it for your sanity, and your to-do list. Let go - you can do it!

Most importantly, remember that you’re not alone. There are so many people who do the cross country/state planning, and you just have to brace yourself for it. Look into skype or video chat that you can do with your family for the tough conversations like budget, or to show off your latest DIY triumph. Hire a local planner if the location is completely destination for everyone, including yourself. The more you can do to let go, the better your sanity will be. You won’t be missing out on anything you don’t set yourself up to miss.

© lovely little details

  • The Perfect Palette says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Such great advice. There really are ways to de-stress yourself through the process! Happy Monday.

    xoxo, chrissy
    The Perfect Palette

  • Katie @ Lovebird Productions says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Great tips! Learning to let go is a big one! Thank you for sharing! :)


  • Tara Visconti says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Well said Jacin! I live in CO and recently got married in NY. It was not easy. Luckily I have amazing friends and family in NY that were more than happy to help. So I would add if they offer…. take them up on it. They are probably just as excited as you are!

  • Sugar says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Great advice!! I think letting go of a few things and delegating isn’t easy, but definitely worth it!!

  • erin * sparkle & hay says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    oh my goodness “learn to let go” is sooooo true for all brides. great tips on the bridesmaid dresses too!!! :)

  • Debbie @ Bridalhood says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    I planned my wedding from across the country - a few must’s are good vendors, organization and keeping your expectations in check. Good advice!

  • Chandra ~ Oh Lovely Day says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    great advice! get some rest lady :)

  • Malia says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    This may be useful in the future; thanks for the great advice!

  • Stephanie (@BellissimaBride) says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    I am loving today’s post Jacin! Great advice!

  • claire says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    I couldn’t agree more! We planned our wedding from DC (wedding was in Charleston) and planning such a big event so long distance is really trying. Like you said, you miss out on special events you wanted to be there for (like your mom seeing your dress or me seeing the flowers for the first time). It’s hard but you have to learn to let go and just let things happen. Trust your vendors who are there, family members and put full trust in yourself and your bridal party. It may not always be perfect but its your big day so you just have to let go!

  • Katie says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Such great advice! Everyone’s planning experience is different, and I think it’s important to enjoy whatever process it is that you are going through, even if that means planning from afar! The joy and love that you two have together is the most important piece to that planning puzzle!

  • Sarah {A Paper Proposal} says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    It must have been so difficult not having your mom there to help you shop for dresses! I had a destination wedding, so I also had to plan from afar, but I didn’t relinquish much of the planning to anyone else, to be honest. It definitely became extremely stressful toward the end, and I wish that I had leaned on my friends and family more for support now looking back.

  • Faith says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    such great advice for future brides!

  • Alexa says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    It is a challenge to plan from afar (we did that). And sometimes I wish I had it closer to where we lived, but it all worked out in the end!

  • birdie to be says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    I can’t believe you are off to Maine to plan a wedding! You go girl! My best friend just got engaged and is planning an la wedding from Seattle. I will send your tips her way! :)

  • Koru Kate says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Fab advice! I can’t imagine planning my wedding from afar but when there’s a will, there’s way. Kudos to you~

  • frances says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! great post :) sometimes i get so sad about planning this fun event from accross the country, but you just gotta suck it up!

  • Laura *You Stir Me* says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    couldn’t agree more. Learning to let go and not letting your expectations get you down were biggies for me. I planned my wedding from Jersey and although NH wasn’t so far away, it was hard finding vendors online that were local in NH ( I really wanted to give my business to the little guys). I had to be prepared and do my research but realize that not everything I wanted would be possible; once I learned to let go of some things, I had time and energy to make the little things even better! Great advice, darling!

  • Laura says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    I totally know how you felt with those little things. It is sad at times. My sister and my mom are running around there and I’m running around here and I wish we were running around together. Thank goodness for text and the internet.

    Thanks for this post. It’s good to know I’m not alone with my feelings and your advice is spot on!

  • Liesl says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    This is very helpful, Jacin! Currently I am only an hour and a half away and living in the same state as our wedding so that is lovley, but my fiance is far away in Austin and I will most likely be making a move before the wedding itself since the market is good to buy now and it might be nice to know we have a place together already once we get married, but this will be being far away from our wedding location…so it is a tough thing right now to decide what is best!

    Liesl :)

  • Tiffany says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Wonderful advice..that is definitely something I need to work on..to relinquish control of some of the details!

  • Rhiannon {Hey Gorg} says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Well you know how my planning process went :) so all I can say is amen to these points. Letting go is such an important thing to learn to do. For all you brides out there remember this and things will go so much more smoothly! xoxo

  • Lena says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Oh Jacin, these tips are so perfect, and wonderfully insightful. I’m so glad I have ya’ll to keep me sane when someone recommends drunk Father Johnson or that Texas community center…

  • Alicia @CharityWedding says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    Great tips and they are even helpful to me after the fact! My mom lives out of state and really wasn’t able to help, be at special events, or even make it to my shower. It was weird to plan such an important event and not have her physically by my side. But I also know many people whose mothers were absolutely able to help and didn’t want to, or who lost their mothers. You have to be grateful for what you have and not compare situations between your friends.

  • Steph {bubblerock} says on August 8, 2011 Reply

    I can only agree to everything you are saying.
    I was planning my wedding near the location of it but away from my family and I, too had much bigger expectations of the cliche/romanticised wedding planning with many fun times with my girls trying on dresses…
    But the reality was much different: my mum was in France while I was in NZ, one of my bridesmaids at the time was in Mexico and another one was pregnant…
    Maybe selfishly, my biggest problem was that I got disappointed to not be more the focus of my friends…
    But then I found a lot of people online to share/get excited with and who supported me along the way… You will always find your way to make the process an amazing one and also, LEARN TO LET GO as Jacin says because it will become a much more enjoyable wedding planning that way :D
    PS: I love my girls and I know that they only wanted to show me love, excitement and support but I was just expecting something so totally different from the reality :D

  • ana says on August 9, 2011 Reply

    this was super helpful! I too am in the process of planning a wedding cross country (San Francisco with ceremony in Charleston, SC!) and have felt a little down about the experience thus far. But what you said is so true! Without expectations, I cannot feel let down! I actually just started a blog { http://luckyinlovesf.blogspot.com/ } in hopes that it would help me feel even more involved and active in the planning process. thanks again for all of your helpful tips ! keep it up!

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